Colorectal cancer screening saves lives

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HARTFORD -- Colorectal cancer is the 3rd most common cancer found in both men and women. The good news is that screening for colorectal cancer saves lives. It is one of the few cancers where screening leads to a reduction in the development of cancer. Carol  Petruff, MD; Gastroenterologist at Saint Francis, joined  FOX 61 Good Day Connecticut to talk about prevention and screening.

Up to 30% of adults over the age of 50 have not been screened for colorectal cancer.  For all colorectal cancers found the 5 year survival is 68% and the 10 year survival 58%. If cancer is found in early stage the five-year survival rate is 90%, but only 40% of cancers are diagnosed at this stage. If cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, the five-year survival is 71%, and if cancer has spread to distant organs, the five-year survival is 13%.

Saint Francis/Mount Sinai oncologists say you can reduce your chances of developing colorectal cancer by:

  • being physically active
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • not smoking
  • limiting the consumption of alcohol
  • eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • reducing the amount of red meat in your diet

Symptoms of colorectal cancer may include:

  • change in bowel habits
  • stools that are more narrow than usual
  • bloating or fullness in the abdomen, cramps
  • diarrhea, constipation, or a feeling in the rectum that the bowel movement isn’t quite complete
  • weight loss for no apparent reason
  • being tired all of the time
  • vomiting